Three Tips for Positively Channeling Post-Election Energy

 
"Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek.” - Dalai Lama

Wow... What a week.

I apologize for the recent silence on my blog.

I’ll be 100% honest: For me, getting through the past week felt a little like the emotional equivalent of going through a cycle in the washing machine, getting hit by a truck, and walking on shards of glass all at the same time.

I don’t think I’m alone. I sense a collective pain shared by many as we process the results of the election. No matter where we may fall on the spectrum of political views or post-election emotions, the unrest is palpable.

I’ve finally started to loosen my grip on sadness, resentment, and anger and I am now replacing those feelings a sense of hope and determination. But getting here hasn’t been easy or automatic.

I’ve identified 3 things that have helped me start to process all the emotions stirred up by the events of the past week. I’m sharing them with you in case they help you move forward, too.

1. Give yourself breathing room.

It may seem like there is nothing we can all agree on right now. In addition to disagreement over the implications of the election results, I’ve seen many people criticized for their response to the news: “Stop whining. Move on. Accept reality.”

First, whatever your emotions are, know that they are valid. Your feelings deserve to be welcomed and heard. Don’t let anyone tell you that you just need to “get over it.”

Lean into your emotions, but do so responsibly. Be honest with yourself as to how your emotional state may impact others. If you need to retreat in order to protect those around you from statements you may regret later: give yourself license to do just that. Reactively lashing out at others will only serve to widen the divide. Similarly, it is better to give yourself a safe outlet now than to try to “buck up” and have negativity seep out later. You can engage with others productively when you are ready to communicate with an open heart.

2. Adopt heart-opening practices.

In yoga, there are certain poses known as “heart openers.” These asanas ("asana" is Sanskrit for yogic postures or movements) physically stretch the muscles of the chest and are designed to release tensions and bottled up emotions.

If you’re feeling a tightness in your chest (literally) or a hardness in your heart (figuratively), here are a few heart-centered poses to try for physical and emotional release:

Cobra yoga asana
Bridge yoga asana
Wheel yoga asana

 

If you’re seeking a less physical outlet, the practice of Metta (or loving-kindness meditation) might be helpful for you at this time. This is a type of meditation in which we direct positive, love-fueled wishes outward toward other people. Research shows this type of meditation practice can increase positive and decrease negative emotions, activate pathways for empathy and kindness in the brain, and strengthen interpersonal connections.

Click here for a loving kindness meditation. 

3. Act with compassion.

Once you’ve given yourself room to breathe, process, and open up, you will be better equipped to turn compassionately outward. Aim to direct your energy to be a source of help and healing.

The goal isn't to "go back to normal." Instead, resolve to utilize the emotional spark within you for good.

For example:

  • Could you reach out to someone who is distraught and ask what they need?
  • Could you donate time or money to an organization in need of assistance?
  • Might you take action in the political sphere for a good cause? {Calling your representative is one potential action}
  • How can you keep the conversation moving forward?

Ask yourself: How can I be a vehicle for love and acceptance in this world? How can I stand for what is right and just?

If you let an open heart lead the way, there's little chance you'll be led astray. 

xx K